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THE JIM HENSON COMPANY’S “DINOSAUR TRAIN”
CGI-Animated Preschool Series Designed to
PULLS IN TO PBS KIDS®
Spark Interest in Life Science, Natural History and Paleontology
Los Angeles, CA; January 7, 2009 - The Jim Henson Company has finalized an agreement with PBS KIDS to debut the all-new CGI-animated series, DINOSAUR TRAIN, in fall 2009. The new series embraces and celebrates the fascination that preschoolers have with both dinosaurs and trains while encouraging basic scientific thinking and skills as the audience learns about natural science, natural history and paleontology. The announcement was made today by Lisa Henson, co-CEO of The Jim Henson Company, and by John Boland, Chief Content Officer, PBS, at the PBS portion of the Television Critics Association January Press Tour.
Created by Craig Bartlett (Hey Arnold!), DINOSAUR TRAIN is currently in production for 40 half-hour episodes (80 x 11 minute episodes). The series will join other top-ranked PBS KIDS preschool series including The Jim Henson Company’s series SID THE SCIENCE KID, which premiered in fall 2008. Bartlett, Brian Henson, Lisa Henson and Halle Stanford will executive produce. The Jim Henson Company will oversee all ancillary exploitation of the property, including licensing and merchandising. PBS will handle DVD distribution to consumer and education markets. DINOSAUR TRAIN is co-produced with Singapore animation company BIG Communications, with the participation and assistance of the Singapore Media Development Authority. UK production and financial support is being provided by Ingenious Media.
DINOSAUR TRAIN is seen through the eyes of Buddy, a preschool-aged Tyrannosaurus Rex. Buddy and his adoptive family of Pteranodons go for adventures on the Dinosaur Train to meet all kinds of dinosaurs in different eras and learn fascinating new facts about these incredible creatures.
“Based on input from paleontologists, science educators and early childhood education experts, DINOSAUR TRAIN has developed an ambitious and creative curriculum that harnesses children’s enthusiasm for and curiosity about dinosaurs, sparking children’s interest in life science and natural history,” states Henson. “PBS KIDS has been an incredible partner with our current series SID THE SCIENCE KID, and our new project DINOSAUR TRAIN extends our mutual vision of creating quality, educational preschool programming by encouraging even more young viewers to get excited about science and the role it plays in our lives every day.”
“PBS is thrilled to bring in a second series from The Jim Henson Company,” said Boland. “There is a great need for future leadership in science, technology, engineering and math, and with series like DINOSAUR TRAIN, PBS is leveraging its media assets to help guide children through these core curriculum areas.”
In addition to the series’ on air presence, DINOSAUR TRAIN will also have a robust component at pbskids.org, including games, learning tools and more, as well as parent and teacher resources on PBS Parents (pbsparents.org) and PBS Teachers (pbsteachers.org). Created in partnership with multimedia design studio FableVision, the Web site will extend the curriculum themes of the show and further explore Buddy’s world and its inhabitants.
About The Jim Henson Company
The Jim Henson Company has remained an established leader in family entertainment for over 50 years and is recognized worldwide as an innovator in puppetry, animatronics and digital animation. Best known as creators of the world famous Muppets (the rights to which are now owned by The Walt Disney Company), Henson is the recipient of over 50 Emmy Awards and nine Grammy Awards. Credits include the Saturn Award-winning “Farscape” and the features “MirrorMask,” “Five Children and It,” “Good Boy!” and the recently released direct to DVD “Unstable Fables,” which features “3 Pigs and a Baby,” “Tortoise vs. Hare” and “The Goldilocks and the Three Bears Show.” With additional locations in New York and London, The Jim Henson Company is headquartered in Los Angeles on the historic Charlie Chaplin lot, complete with soundstage and postproduction facilities. Independently owned and operated by the five adult children of founder Jim Henson, the Company is also home to Jim Henson's Creature Shop™, a pre-eminent character-building and visual effects group with international film, television and advertising clients, as well as Henson Recording Studios, one of the music industry's top recording facilities known for its world-class blend of state of the art and vintage equipment. The Company is currently completing production on 40 episodes of Sid the Science Kid, a science readiness animated series for preschoolers that debuted on PBS KIDS in September 2008, and recently premiered the preschool live-action puppet series “Pajanimals” on PBS KIDS Sprout. The Company’s Henson Alternative brand continues to produce “Puppet Up! - Uncensored,” a live puppet improvisational show that has played to sold out crowds around the world and runs monthly at the Avalon Hollywood. The Company has also announced the creation of Jim Henson Designs, a merchandise collection inspired by Jim Henson’s earliest sketches, and The Jim Henson Company: Discoveries, an acquisitions banner that celebrates outstanding third party produced independent film, television and video productions from around the globe embodying the Company’s enduring legacy. www.henson.com
About PBS KIDS and PBS KIDS GO!
PBS KIDS, for preschoolers, and PBS KIDS GO!, for early elementary school kids, offer all children – from every walk of life – the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television, online and outreach programs. With positive character role models and content designed to nurture a child’s total well-being, PBS’s online and community resources – including PBS KIDS online (pbskids.org), PBS KIDS GO! online (pbskidsgo.org), PBS Parents (pbsparents.org), PBS Teachers (pbsteachers.org), PBS KIDS Raising Readers and literacy events across the country – leverage the full spectrum of media, technology and community to build knowledge, critical thinking, imagination and curiosity. Empowering children for success in school and in life, only PBS KIDS and PBS KIDS GO! have earned the unanimous endorsement of parents, children, industry leaders and teachers. PBS is a nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation’s 356 public television stations, serving more than 115 million people on-air and online each month and reaching 99% of American homes.
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For media inquiries, please contact:
Vice President, Marketing and PR
The Jim Henson Company
Michelle Orsi or Carol Holdsworth
Three.Sixty Marketing & Communications
310-372-2309 or 805-252-1848
Director of Publicity, Children’s Media